Wasatch Community Gardens planning new Central City campus

Wasatch Community Gardens (WCG) is ready to expand not only their reach but their flagship garden at the 600 East block of 800 South as part of their CityGarden project.  The organization focuses on urban agriculture, youth mentorship and community education and plans to build a small campus directly east of their existing Grateful Tomato Garden.

WCG has launched a capital campaign to fund the project and the Salt Lake City Planning Commission voted to forward a positive recommendation to City Council for a rezone of the subjected properties.

The community organization currently maintains the Grateful Tomato Garden on a 0.5-acre parcel.  Last year WCG was able to raise the funds needed to purchase three adjacent properties to the east of the garden.  With the acquisition of the adjacent properties, the CityGarden project will occupy over an acre with a mix of uses including offices, expanded garden space, programming space, education center and three residential units.

In their capital campaign post, the organization describes its vision for the CityGarden project as a an “urban agriculture hub that will house our offices, a commercial kitchen to use for youth and adult classes, a workshop space for our education programs, and demonstration gardens to help community members learn to grow and eat healthy food.”

There is a single family home on each of the three parcels.  All three homes are in the Central City Historic District and will be preserved and converted into new uses.  WCG will convert the home closest to the original garden into an education center.   The home has a significant setback and the front yard will become additional garden space.

A boardwalk will connect the education center to the other two homes.  WCG will convert the additional homes into offices.  The zoning amendment is needed because office uses aren’t allowed under the properties’ RMF-30 (Low-Density Multi-Family Residential) zoning.  WCG is requesting instead a rezone to R-MU-35 (Residential Mixed-Use) which allows for office uses.

Smaller garden space will occupy the yard space in front of the proposed offices.  The three residential units would be part of the second phase and will front Green Street, replacing what was the backyards of the homes that will be converted into offices.  A small surface eight-stall parking lot will wrap around the proposed residential units.

WCG needs final city council approval for the zoning amendment and will need alteration approval from the Salt Lake City Historic Landmark Commission before any renovations can begin.

Posted by Isaac Riddle

Isaac Riddle grew up just outside of Salt Lake City, Utah. He has a BA in English literature from the University of Utah and a Masters of Journalism from Temple University. Isaac has written for Next City, The Philadelphia Public School Notebook and Salt Lake City Weekly. Before embarking on a career in journalism, Isaac taught High School English in the Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia. Isaac is the founder of Building Salt Lake and can be reached at isaac@buildingsaltlake.com.